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Police deport illegal Vietnamese miners

AUTHORITIES in Ratanakkiri province have deported six Vietnamese miners who were arrested for entering Cambodia illegally.

Mar Vicheat, O’Yadav district’s police chief, said yesterday that the arrests were carried out during a Friday raid on a mining compound in Badal village. During the raid, police and military officials found nine machines that were being used to dig and pan for gold.

“After we received a call from the provincial governor, we sent all the arrested people back to provincial police headquarters,” he said.

It would have been difficult to transport the machines, so officials decided to destroy them in order to send a warning to other would-be miners in the area, he said.

Provincial Governor Pav Ham Phan declined to reveal the names of the men who were arrested, but said that all six were deported to Vietnam on Saturday.

“They are Vietnamese citizens, so we must send them back to their country and allow Vietnamese authorities to sentence them through their own institutional laws,” he said.

But Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said he doubted that the Vietnamese miners would be punished for their infractions.

“I suspect they will be released without being sentenced,” he said.

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